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‘The Daily Show’ Team Talks Trump, Transmedia at SXSW

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Courtesy of Comedy Central

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” producers took on the topics of fake news, Trump’s tweets and the general importance of being a part of the social media conversation at SXSW in Austin, Texas on Saturday.

At the panel called “Real Fake News Never Stops Conversation with the Daily Show,” producer Matt Negrin discussed how and why the Comedy Central late-night show has blurred into journalism.

“We can say things that journalists can’t, even though they probably believe them,” Negrin said. “For a long time journalists weren’t allowed to say that Trump was a liar and a racist, and we could pretty comfortably say those things.”

Producer Ramin Hedayati pointed out that the show does “bring that same journalistic integrity as far as fact checking.”

In further discussing Trump, Hedayati noted that he “is so wrong” for the job of president but also called him “an incredible force of humanity.”

“He’s not going to stop being who he is. And he’s not going to stop tweeting,” Hedayati said.

Trump’s tweets weren’t the only part of social media that became important to the discussion. Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. was also on the panel to discuss the importance of utilizing social media to follow news and reactions to that news as it unfolds in real time.

“I don’t think he’s funny. I laugh to keep from being horrified,” Wood said of Trump.

“The Daily Show” employs a multiplatform approach to its storytelling, sometimes releasing material in real time on social to be a part of that conversation, rather than waiting to air it on the show later in the day or even on a subsequent day.

Senior Coordinating Producer Jocelyn Conn said the decision of what material to put out on social versus save for the show depends on the specific news. “Sometimes stuff is better served on digital and sometimes on the show,” she said. “And sometimes we put stuff out that is going to be on the show, but we want an earlier reaction to it during the day.”

Negrin noted that being a part of the breaking news conversation is the “cool window” for a lot of what the show does. To wait for the show’s broadcast could cause them to miss opportunities to be late to the humor.

“When things start happening literally this moment, Twitter is so cool. Like, when Trump fired [James] Comey and the statement went out. That’s a great opportunity for a really fast joke,” Negrin said.

Wood also pointed out that there is just some material that plays better with the online audience, especially since there they are not beholden to the show’s format or time constraints.

The panel was also used to launch this year’s Third Month Mania competition for “The Daily Show.” This event is a bracket-style tournament that asks the audience to pick the best bulls— from the past year. Right now, it is pretty much “Trump versus everybody.”